The lure of sex has historically been used to sell everything from jeans and perfume to cars. The scantily dressed woman being overpowered by a sexually aggressive male is a tired trope that is both promoting rape culture and disempowering to the audience in the assumption that aged techniques will be effective in selling a product.
This is a conversation that I have been having with a good friend of mine who is a marketing expert, about whether or not using sexual imagery or themes actually still works, and what that means for consumers.
As someone who actually sells sex for a living, I can definitely say that even when selling sex, it isn’t the sex that you are selling. It is the illusion of power and control, as well as human connection and validation.
In all honestly, out of every ten clients that I see, I may have penetrative sex with only three or four of them, which isn’t unusual for indoor providers. Trawl through escort ads on the internet, the majority of which describe a ‘girlfriend experience’ or less commonly a ‘pornstar experience’.
An experience, not just a wham-bam-thankyou-m’am.
So what actually happens when a man walks into a brothel?
He is placed in a position of perceived power, he thinks that he has a choice of whoever he wants, who will to do whatever he wants. He then chooses a provider and then he is made to feel important; she listens to his stories, she pampers him physically and laughs at his jokes. She might indulge a fetish or special request and assure him that his needs are normal. She might even tell him about herself, which ‘she doesn’t usually do’, because he is ‘special’. He then leaves feeling important and desirable and possibly having made a new friend with a beautiful lady.
In reality the service provider still maintains all of the control, from who we see, to what happens and the direction of the conversation, all while making them believe that it is their idea. From the moment that they walk in the door, chances are that we have even already decided who they are going to ‘choose’.
We are just damn good salesmen.
***(There are many different kinds of sex work and many kinds of providers, I am drawing from my own experiences as a brothel worker and as an independent worker.)